How to Pitch Your Products to Editors

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Some small businesses seem to be at a loss about how to submit their products to editors of blogs, magazines, newspapers, and so forth, in order to have their product included in an article. My biggest advice is always, “pitch a story, not a product”.

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Pitch a Story, Not a Product

Writers are constantly running out of story ideas, so if you feed them one, they are very appreciative. Do not send them an email asking them to just blatantly promote your product, they will hit delete. Instead, give them a few editorial suggestions for which your product would fit in nicely.

Below are some real-life blog and magazine article headlines to help you get a better understanding of what ideas to pitch:

Examples of Product-Related Editorial Pitches

  • 17 Red-Carpet Worthy Jewels
  • 5 Winter Fashion Must-Haves Under $50
  • 15 Hostess Gifts Under $20
  • 10 Great Finds for a Nautical Theme Kids Room
  • 20 Baby Products That Will Make New Moms Lives Easier
  • Emerald Green Wedding Inspiration
  • 12 Fantastic Gifts for Foodies
  • Eco-Friendly Products Perfect for Celebrating Earth Day
  • Our Favorite Online Vintage Shops
  • New Pet Products That Will Keep Your Dog Trim

Keep in mind the more intriguing the story pitch, the more unusual the story pitch, and the more current (in terms of time of year, what’s going on in the news) the story pitch, will all increase your chances of success.

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© 2013 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

My Latest Google Search Tips

by G.B. Oliver

I was doing research of a particular Google search for a client when I noticed some subtle differences on how people search for products that may change how you phrase your headings, subheadings and keyword tags.

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Fact # 1 – Not Many People Use Apostrophes Correctly When Searching

Maybe because we are all in such a hurry these days, but it appears that people very rarely use apostrophes when searching.

For example, they don’t search “men’s shoes” they search “mens shoes“. The exact phrase “men’s shoes” pulled up data of 58 searches a month compared to 60,500 for the exact phrase “mens shoes“, without the apostrophe. That’s quite a difference and it was consistent with other terms as well.

The exact phrase “kids clothes” showed 45,000 searches per month, where the exact phrase “kid’s clothes” showed nil. Now the phrase “kids’ clothes” (where the apostrophe is at the end) also pulled up 40,500, which showed me that Google ignores the apostrophe when it is at the end of a word, but not when it is in amongst the letters.

So if grammatically incorrect can pull in higher searches, do you wrestle with the dilemma of writing your product copy according to keywords or opting for the correct grammar?

Fact # 2 – Plural versus Singular Can Make a Difference

People also vary in their searches as to whether or not it is more common to add the plural. For example, the exact phrase “throw pillows” pulled up 18,100 searches per month, whereas the singular “throw pillow” was dramatically lower at 2,400. However, it was the opposite for necklaces. The exact phrase “gold necklaces” pulled up 2,900 searches monthly compared to 12,900 for the singular “gold necklace“.

As adding the plural seems to vary by product, it means you really have to research both singular and plural with your product keywords to see which is more commonly searched. Tedious, but it could make a big difference.

Fact # 3 – Gender Isn’t Always Implied

Another thing I noticed is that when you are looking for an item by gender, it appears there are more searches specific to “mens” then there are to “womens”. For example, “mens jewelry” showed 5,400 monthly searches compared to only 1,600 for “womens jewelry“. “Mens shoes” showed 60,500 searches compared to 49,500 for “womens shoes“. Now, I would think more women are searching for shoes online than men, so is it that women just type “shoes” or “black shoes” or “high heels” and just naturally assume the search will know they mean women’s? If that is the case, it may not be worth your while to include women’s in your description or keywords, and instead focus on other adjectives such as color, style or material.

Remember, these facts are not really specific to Google, these are specific to human behavior. That is why you really  have to test all variations of your keywords to see how your target market mostly commonly uses them for search.

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I have many more search tips and advice in my PDFs (because I save my best tips for there!), Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work, available here.

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

by Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESSDo you know that when someone reads your product description, you only have a 1% to 8% chance of converting them into a sale? If you are not converting more than 1% of your traffic into sales, then you need to write better descriptions that will really sell your products.

When I write product copy for my customers, my goal is to quickly:

  • Emphasize the main value of the product (what problem does it solve)
  • Make the reader want to buy it (even if they don’t really need it)
  • Include a closing line to try and secure the sale

Here are 3 product descriptions that I wrote for customers, so note how I managed to get the main selling points across in just a few sentences:

DESCRIPTION: Bridal Hair Chain

Our stunning “Elisa” bridal chain headpiece has a wonderful renaissance feel, constructed with layers of beautiful dainty lacquered white chain. So lightweight, this headpiece adorns both the sides and the back of your head creating a dramatic look as you walk down the aisle past your guests. The clips are covered by your hair, making it appear as if the headpiece is floating on your hair for an angelic like effect. Ideal for a boho or beach wedding, you will have a unique look so different from traditional headpieces. 

GOAL: When writing for brides, you want to create an image, focus on a theme (brides love themes) and make sure that you have covered every concern – in this case the weight, how to wear it, and if it will suit her wedding. Noticed how many times I said, “you“. Plus, brides love to be unique!

DESCRIPTION: SUGAR BODY SCRUB

Our luscious sugar body scrub is handmade in small batches from a mix of both organic brown sugar and organic cane sugar for a gentle exfoliation, with organic red rose and hibiscus petals added to give it a wonderfully floral scent. The addition of cardamom (an Indian spice) lends an exotic touch while improving blood circulation, and vanilla and calendula jojoba oil (derived from marigold flowers) help to soothe your skin, even dry and itchy skin conditions. Your winter skin will now be soft to the touch! 4 fl oz jar. All organic ingredients. 

GOAL: When people are looking for beauty products, they typically want a solution to a problem, so make sure you give them one (or, even better, several)! People also like to hear about interesting ingredients and the quality of the ingredients. In the end, you want to make sure they think that your scrub is better than all the others.

DESCRIPTION: KID’S ROOM TEEPEE

An exclusive design from our new Sweet Pea Collection, this pretty vintage floral teepee is partially made from pre-washed upcycled linens with beautiful lace and ruffle detailing for a delightfully feminine look. Perfect for a shabby chic or floral theme nursery or girl’s room, the teepee also features a fun blue and white pinstriped ruffle with matching tiebacks. Fits easily in the corner of her room and is a great way to get her to nap and read! These are truly handcrafted original teepee designs with a meticulous attention to each and every detail including professionally serged seams and non-scratch furniture grade PVC poles. 56” high (when open) with a 42” base width and 66” poles. 100% cotton fabric. Machine washable. 

GOAL: The goal here is to think how a parent would think. Will it work with her room decor? Does it have a purpose other than being fun? Is it safe and washable?

Want product descriptions that sell? Try my Product Description Writing Service.

© 2012-2018 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

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Product Trends for 2013

by G.B. Oliver

I took a look at the new product arrivals from some of the major online retailers, and I noticed several themes emerging that smaller online shops may want to consider when designing their products for this year.

Animal Trends

While owls and birds will still be popular in home decor and jewelry, a new trend that seems to be popping up is African wildlife, such as giraffes, tigers and cheetahs. 2013 is also the year of the snake, so that may influence design as well (and if you want to get a start on 2014, when the next Hobbit movie comes out in December, I imagine dragons will be big!).

Color Trends

Neon is back is a big way, for both home, jewelry and fashion, but many designers are also mixing neon with black, grey and navy so it is not too strong a statement. Pastel colors such as mint are also popular. Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is Emerald Green, so expect to see it in various hues (check out this blog editorial to see what I mean).

Kate Spade Necklace at Piperlime
Kate Spade Necklace at Piperlime

Jewelry Trends

Geometric shapes (including individual chevrons, a trend from last year), twigs, branches, horns, tusks, skulls and lots of spikes (50 Shades of Grey influence, maybe) seem to be popular jewelry trends. Choker and bib necklaces continue to be current. Traditional hoop earrings do not appear to be that trendy, but rather smaller stud earrings or large dangle earrings.

Art Trends

Keep Calm and Carry On has inspired lots of word art with everyone looking for that next trendy, inspirational saying. Vintage fonts are popular in art as well, along with vintage travel posters. A lot of photography art seems to be taking on a blurry trend, or black and white with small washes of color here and there. Artistic animal heads on walls continue to find new creative ways.

Pattern Trends

Chevrons, ombre (fading from one color to the next), trellis patterns are all still popular. New pattern trends seem to be polka dots, houndstooth and global bazaar/moroccan prints.

Houndstooth art print at Inhabit
Houndstooth art print at Inhabit

Material Trends

Expect lots of accents of metal studs, metal plates and shimmery gold and silver in both home decor, jewelry and fashion. Stylish household objects in ceramic will also be really popular in 2013.

Kids’ Product Trends

Neon is also a big trend for both kids fashion and room decor, as is Parisian themes and sequins. Ceramic accents, banners for bedrooms, and everything in a shape whether it is mirrors, rugs, lamps, bookends or clocks. Another hot fashion trend for kids is moccasins.

FINAL WORD: Why should you care about trends? Because trends get editorial, which means you have a better chance with product submissions to the media if your products are current. It doesn’t mean your whole shop has to be trendy, just one piece will do.

IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, you’ll LOVE my Ebooks!

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Because I save all my very best advice & secrets for in there – Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!  

There are editions specifically for the Home, Wedding, Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Pets, Vintage and Baby & Kids markets. Just click here to go to my Ebook shop and download your copy. 

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Valentine’s Day Marketing Tips: You’re Selling to the Opposite Sex Now

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

A great selling opportunity coming up for online shops is Valentine’s Day. All the blogs, newspapers and online magazines will be running Valentine’s Gift Guides, mostly aimed at the male who is assumed to have no idea what to buy the woman in his life.

Valentines Day Sales TipsFor those of you selling products normally targeted at a female audience, such as jewelry and fashion accessories, you now have to shift your message to appeal to the male gift buyer. Here is what you need to know.

Tips for Selling to Men Who are Buying a Gift for a Woman

1. Men buy more impulsively. They don’t shop around, they don’t compare prices. If they have clicked on your item, you are 95% there, all you have to do is close the sale. i.e. “I guarantee she’ll love it. Buy now and get 10% off using the coupon code VD2013.

2. Men buy at the last minute. Most men are not going to think about buying a Valentine’s gift in January. They are thinking about it a few days before. Therefore, you have to be sure to let them know that you can get it to them in time for February 14th, and already gift wrapped if needed.

3. Men love “free” gifts. Men like feeling as if they paid one price but got something “extra” for their girlfriend/wife, even if they don’t realize the price of the “free” gift was worked into the product price. If you have anything extra you can throw in, it will probably help seal the deal.

4. Men like to share and make the lives of other men easier, so encourage them to tell all their male friends about your shop for the women in their lives.

Now, if you normally sell products to men, you have to change your message for women who are thinking about buying your product as a gift for the man in their life.

Tips for Selling to Women Who are Buying a Gift for a Man

1. Women think they know what men want, but they really don’t. Therefore, you need testimonials and recommendations from male customers that this is a popular item that all men will love.

2. Women don’t buy quickly. They shop around so let them know this is the best price point, the best features, that they won’t find a better option anywhere else. In fact, encourage conversation as women like to feel the personal connection when buying.

3. Women want to add that sentimental message so make sure you offer personalization to your products if you can.

4. Women do shop early, so start targeting them NOW, before everyone else is.

5. Women also buy Valentine’s gifts for mothers and children, so be sure to let them know if you have products that suit these markets as well, for a one stop shopping experience.

Try your own survey. Ask the men and women in your  life what influences their gift purchases and make sure to incorporate these factors into your Valentine’s Day sales pitch.

Happy Valentine’s Day … Gail 

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Remember, Everyone is Potentially a Customer

by G.B. Oliver

One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make is forgetting the fact that everyone is potentially a customer. 

The other day I received a very nasty email from someone who didn’t agree with something I wrote on my blog. I am all for constructive criticism but the person was just insulting, rude, and hateful. They also left their shop url so I went over to their website. They had some nice items, but I thought, I will never buy from you. I was potentially a customer. I bet they didn’t stop to think about that. Therefore, I want to remind you – always remember that everyone is potentially a customer.

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Treat Everyone Like A Customer

Would you say nasty, hateful things to a customer? Obviously not. So good business practice is totreat everyone who corresponds with you – whether they are another seller, a supplier, someone trying to sell you their services – as if they are a potential customer. Otherwise, it will come back to bite you.

Avoid Leaving Negative Comments

Same thing if you are leaving comments in a forum that are mean spirited or overly critical. Again, you are representing your business and everyone reading your comments is a potential customer and you have just given a very negative impression of yourself. If you think I am going to run over to your shop and start buying from you, guess again.

Always Show Respect

In my own business, I have always made a point of treating everyone who approaches me with respect, even if I know this is someone who will never require my services. That is how you build a solid business reputation and create good word of mouth. So when people contact me merely to try and sell me something, I get that. I am trying to sell stuff too. I answer respectfully because down the road they may know someone who requires marketing services and they will remember me in a good way.

Don’t Respond Negatively to Negative Feedback

Same situation when someone responds to a comment I made on a forum or blog in a negative or derogatory way, I don’t get in the mud with them. I am still representing my business and my reputation, so I rise above it.

FINAL WORD: You are always marketing your business, so watch your communications, especially your public communications with people. Once a potential customer has a negative impression of you and/or your business, all the marketing in the world is not going to help you.

MalloryHopeDesign_AGMarketing_eBook_KidsBE SURE TO READ all my marketing secrets that will bring your shop success online in 2013 in my new series of ebooks, available here.

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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.